With the growing success of YCombinator and Techstars in the past couple of years, accelerators have become a crucial piece of developing a vibrant start-up ecosystem – a crucial piece that was unfortunately missing in Vancouver after Bootup Labs stopped taking in new companies in fall last year. So I am extremely excited that we announced today a new accelerator in Vancouver: GrowLab is a “startup boot camp” for entrepreneurs whose companies will receive up to $25,000 in seed funding, four months of mentorship, free office space and the opportunity to pitch investors at the end of the program for follow-on funding. The program is accepting applications from entrepreneurs globally and will be based in Vancouver for the first three months, with the fourth month in San Francisco.
What is especially exciting for me is that so many Canadian and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and investors stepped up to make GrowLab happen. My co-founders in this venture are Debbie Landa (Dealmaker Media / Grow Conference / Under the Radar); Jason Bailey (founder of SuperRewards
which sold to AdKnowledge
); and Leonard Brody
, president of Clarity Digital (former CEO of Now Public). And on the investor side the BDC, iNovia Capital
and The Blackberry Partners Fund
were leading the charge, along with Rho Canada
, Mohr Davidow Ventures, Growthworks, Yaletown Venture Partners, Chris Albinson
(Panorama Capital), and Vancouver angel Mike Edwards.
This is an exciting moment for the Vancouver start-up eco-system – thanks to everybody who helped in the past 6 months to pull this off. GrowLab is now accepting applications for its Fall Program at www.growlab.ca, deadline for submission is June 20, with five companies being chosen for the first cohort beginning August 15, 2011.